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Global mobility challenges post Covid

28 December 2021

As we move towards the end of 2021, businesses around the world engaging in global mobility are reviewing the impact of the last year and a half and how it might play out for the rest of this year and into 2022. The deployment of vaccinations has helped some countries get tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, but lack of access and vaccine hesitancy is problematic in many locations. 

Despite this, relocation activity that had been paused or begun virtually, is starting to reactivate. Although, disruption to supply chain and hot housing markets in many locations is causing some difficulty. In tandem with the pandemic, 2020 saw increased focus on the importance of sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and a move towards increased flexibility for employees. It is safe to say there is a lot happening in the area of Global Mobility post Covid-19. 


We have looked at global mobility from a range of views with input from CPL’s Future of Work Institute to help your business prepare for what might be coming down the tracks.

We look at how global mobility was changing before the pandemic, including a shift towards shorter assignments and business travel in favour of the traditional expat assignment. During the early part of the pandemic a lot of global mobility was paused, and we saw the rise of the virtual assignment. We also look at what the future is likely to hold for global mobility as the world transitions out of this difficult period. 
The pandemic also threw up raised a number of unexpected changes when it comes to managing a globally mobile workforce. Skills shortages and dispersed workforces will make it even more challenging for businesses to ensure employees have the opportunity to build the connection required for success. Future of Work Institute’s Elysia Hegarty, assesses how businesses may approach organisational culture, and the importance of management skills to the future of international business. 
The move from the office to remote working has given rise to a host of challenges for international businesses when it comes to tax and data privacy. Virtual assignments, international remote working and other flexible options may work really well for employees and employers from a business perspective, but what are the legal implications? We look at what the new ways of working might mean for how and where employers and employees pay tax and social security. 

International businesses are facing a myriad of challenges when it comes to global mobility. In addition to Covid-19, housing booms and problems with shipping, employers hoping to send employees on assignment also have talent shortages, expectation mismatches and a duty of care to contend with. 


Although global mobility is facing a period of great change, for most businesses it will remain a core component of their overall strategy. Some international businesses may be more conscientious of how often business travel occurs, replacing some trips with virtual meetings. This is also in line with a move towards more sustainable ways of working. 


HR and mobility managers can use this time to audit their previous global mobility policies and edit them to better reflect the changing times. This may mean a more robust business case has to be provided for employees to travel, changes to travel frequency and clear return on investment for any situations where employees do travel. 

When there is a need for an employee to work from another location, ensure they can access healthcare while they are away with group international health insurance tailored to your business needs.